BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB ) – Every year, SABAH’s “Celebration on Ice” inspires. SABAH stands for “skating athletes bold at heart.” But for Lettie Cartonia, SABAH is: “SABAH is time with Kathie,” she said.
Lettie is talking about Kathie Saab, a volunteer who spends time and skates with Lettie at least once a week as part of the SABAH program.
“Lettie and I became friends about three or four years ago. We began skating together,” Kathie said.
Lettie has down syndrome. She loves her time with Kathie and Kathie says their bond grew even stronger after Kathie lost her son in a car accident.
“Lettie has just been so influential in helping me to just believe in life again,” Kathie said.
At SABAH’s 36th annual Celebration on Ice, the executive director wants the public to see how special and impactful these relationships are.
“It’s something that’s been overlooked. Everyone looks at SABAH that it’s a wonderful thing for the participants. But this piece of the SABAH story is really magnificent. The wonderful relationships that are created.”
Over 650 people with disabilities skated at Sunday’s event.
The theme was “SABAH Goes for the Gold”. It was a very fitting theme for Adam Page who just brought home a gold medal from the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi for the U.S. sled hockey team. SABAH played a key role in his life. He started skating here when he was four years old.
“Kind of just really helped me into what I love now, which is playing hockey,” Page said.
SABAH does a lot for all a lot of people but perhaps Lettie says it best when she said, “It gave me my friend,” Lettie said.